High School Graduation – Recommendations


As part of its initial charge, the High School Graduation work group sought to identify, examine, and recommend promising strategies to improve the high school graduation rate and increase demonstrated readiness for college and/or career opportunities. In doing so, the group reviewed the policies, processes, and relevant data associated with high school graduation rates, promotion rates, attendance rates, and dropout rates. The group has also examined college and career readiness metrics and services, the role of tests and assessments, participation in summer school and online courses, and the transition from high school to college.


The High School Graduation work group put forth the below set of initial, strategic recommendations to move the needle on our key indicators for this outcome. The group monitored the following progress to date:


Explore opportunities to strengthen and expand career exploration and training programs, including Career Technology Education (CTE) programs, work-based learning, and connection to industry partners.

Progress to Date: The Career Exploration action team discussed the current state of career exploration programs and services for BCPS students, as well as workforce development best practices, then generated ideas for developing a system that supports the district’s efforts to provide career exploration opportunities, quality CTE programs, and work-based learning experiences, including summer jobs, for students. The team continues to explore facilitating partnerships between businesses and schools, and creating a smooth handoff for CTE students post-graduation.


Explore opportunities to enhance college/career counseling, both in school and out of school.

Progress to Date: The College & Career Advising action team reviewed the district’s vision and strategic plan for college and career advising services, developed a de nition of college/career advising, and discussed the existing network of community-based partners that provide advising services. As a result of this work:

  • In partnership with BCPS, the team completed a survey of community-based organizations that provide advising services. The information gathered was representative of 34 organizations, a 62% response rate, and provided the team with a better understanding of the programs, the youth they serve, and the types of services they provide.
  • Several members of the team joined an advisory group that is supporting the Fund for Educational Excellence and BCPS in the development of a new online toolkit for students, families, and community members linked to the seven “Key Practices for Postsecondary Success.”
  • The development of a network for community-based organizations involved in college and career readiness work to come together in a variety of functions, including sharing best practices, leveraging collective resources, creating new collaborations, is ongoing.


Explore opportunities to expand and coordinate long-term mentoring opportunities.

Progress to Date: The Mentoring action team reviewed and reached consensus on local application of the national MENTOR standards to be used for determining quality. As a result of this work,

  • Baltimore’s Promise partnered with the Maryland Mentoring Resource Center (MMRC) to encourage local mentoring programs to participate in a national survey conducted by MENTOR. Baltimore’s Promise and MMRC co-hosted a survey-release kick-off event; 43 organizations completed the survey, which represents 55% of organizations with known city mentoring programs.
  • The team compiled its recommendations into a Citywide Strategy for Mentoring, which proposes a framework to achieve the goal of leveraging mentoring programs to ensure students are on track to graduate from high school in Baltimore City. The document outlines a vision for what a quality mentoring program looks like and how a coordinated citywide strategy will support programs in achieving that standard of quality.


Create and leverage effective partnerships between schools and external entities: including community-based organizations and institutions (e.g. Baltimore Behavioral Health Systems and the Baltimore City Department of Social Services).

Progress to Date: The Effective Partnerships action team examined promising practices associated with school-based partnerships and generated ideas for developing a system that supports effective partnerships across the district. As a result of this work, the action team has:

  • led the overhaul of the Partnerships Toolkit on the BCPS website, which is a resource for external partners and school leaders.
  • supported the BCPS Office of Community Engagement in refining its trainings for principals in the 2016–17 school year.